Families are not just a collection of individuals; they are a system. And they are a system that is prone to challenges. Each family is unique in that it has its own set of norms, patterns, and rules. In family therapy, the family system is the client.

Family therapy helps family members understand each other and work through difficult feelings in a safe space. This type of therapy focuses on improving the interactions and communication between family members.

Who can attend Family Therapy?

“Family” is defined as a group of people who care about each other and call themselves a family. You decide who falls into that category. We work with families of all kinds. Though it is ideal for all members of a family unit to attend therapy together, any number of family members may seek family therapy, even if some family members are unwilling to attend. Family members of all ages are welcome to attend.

Family therapy might be contraindicated if other family members are active substance abusers, abusive and violence, or deny that these concerns are problematic.

What can a family therapist help with?

Family therapy can be beneficial in a number of circumstances, including:

  • Seeking a closer relationship
  • Seeking to improve communication
  • Facing challenges, such as mental or physical illnesse
  • Concerns about children’s behaviour
  • Interest in fostering or adopting children
  • Getting a divorce or separation
  • Addressing resentments stemming from past behaviours

What to expect in family therapy

Your family therapist will seek to understand your family’s goals, as well as patterns of relating and interacting, to help you improve communication and interactions. Your therapist will also encourage self examination and reflection and support mobilization of your family’s strengths, resources, and resilience.

Family therapists may:

  • Discuss each person’s hopes and goals
  • Encourage everyone to talk about their experiences and listen to each other
  • Clarify each person’s beliefs, values, needs, hopes and assumptions so that everyone understands each other
  • Help families stop blaming each other and begin exploring how everyone can work
    together to make positive changes
  • Help people understand the impact of their words and behaviours on other members of
    the family
  • Help identify stuck points that are causing friction between family members
  • Help families talk about the challenges they’re facing
  • Suggest approaches to improve communication and understanding
  • Teach skills that family members can bring into their lives
  • Support forgiveness and reconciliation

There is no single path when it comes to family therapy. Therapy may last only a few sessions, or it may take more time for some families. If a family therapist thinks it will be helpful, they may meet with family members individually, as well as in a group.

How to get started in family therapy

Many people are hesitant to pursue family therapy due to concerns about judgment or the therapist taking sides. Monarch Psychology is dedicated to supporting all family members and we are not here to judge. We recognize that families are a highly interconnected system so therapy must take into account the perspectives and experiences of all family members.

We do our best to provide a safe and supportive environment for all clients and we welcome and embrace many types of families, including blended families, interracial families, chosen families, and LGBTQIA families.

We offer online family therapy as well as in-person therapy with a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Our Family Therapist

Amber Michele Shay